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Customers are most likely to install shopping apps on this day

young male shopper
Shoppers are most likely to install a shopping app on Black Friday.

One annual event has been the top day of the year for consumers to install a new shopping app for more than a decade.

According to analysis of mobile app lifecycle and retention data from more than 60 million new shopping apps first installed between Oct. 1 and Nov. 27 (Cyber Monday), 2023 from app experience company Airship, Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) is the top day of the year for customers to install a shopping app — double the daily average rate for October.

In addition, six of the top seven peak shopping app install days during 2023 were Nov. 19-25, which according to Airship is more tightly grouped than prior years. This peak week saw 40% more app installs than the weekly average in October 2023. Meanwhile, five of the seven lowest daily app install days were Oct. 1-7, 2023. 

Metric comparisons Airship used for the engagement lifecycle stage included Average Sessions Per Active User, Average Session Length (in minutes per month) and the company’s proprietary Engagement Score, which indicates how many monthly active users return on a daily basis.

Results of these comparisons between pre-holiday customer behavior in February 2024 and peak period behavior included:

  • Pre-holiday customers’ February 2024 Engagement Scores are 8% higher than the shopping category average and 14% higher than peak-week customers’.
  • Pre-holiday customers also lead in Average Sessions Per Active User, with February 2024 totals 17% higher than peak-week customers and 9% higher than the shopping category average.
  • The only engagement metric where peak-week customers outperformed pre-holiday customers was Average Session Length, with .006 more monthly minutes in February 2024 (+.4%). Both cohorts are 9% below the February shopping category average for session duration.

"Customers clearly flock to shopping apps to get the best deals, earn rewards and gain exclusive access, but it’s up to retailers to turn installs and first transactions into ongoing use where real value accumulates," said Thomas Butta, chief strategy and marketing officer, Airship. "Brands should continually optimize onboarding experiences and reinforce value throughout the lifecycle and across channels for different types of customers. Above all, they need to capture customers’ attention in moments that matter — which calls for in-app experiences tailored to the individual, so brands can continually grow customer understanding, drive engagement and build loyalty over time."

Airship analyzed aggregate data from shopping apps with at least 100,000 monthly active users that also saw new installs and at least 1,000 device sessions within both the peak-week and pre-holiday cohorts. Analysis included 63 million new app users gained between Oct. 1 and Nov. 27, 2023. One-week pre-holiday and peak-week cohorts were established to track and compare monthly activation and engagement metrics through February 2024 and weekly retention rates through week 15 following initial installation.

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